Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Political conservatism is not enough.

     I have been a Christian since Dec1996. During the first ~3-4 years of my Christian life, I really had no real concept or clue about the the debates concerning the law of God (theonomy, (R)2K, Kuyperianism etc...). I was eventually exposed to Lee Irons' teaching. As I continued to study more and more of Lee Irons' stuff, I got more and more immersed into the whole "Klinean" way of looking at redemptive history and the law of God. The more I studied, the more I became convinced that his view of the law was correct. This was before the (R)2K movement really crystallized at WSCAL, but of course, with Kline on the faculty, (R)2K was there at the school. After several years of reading a bunch of WSCAL and Lee Irons' material, I was probably (R)2K in the same vein as Dr Clark or Matt Tuininga. I drank deep from the (R)2K fountain and was probably just as anti-theonomic as Dr Clark and Matt Tuininga.
     Around the time of about 2008, I started listening to conservative talk radio in my car. Before this time, I was very politically very ignorant and grossly uninformed. As I started listening to conservative radio, I began to really see just how uninformed I was and just what exactly was going on in the political realm.
     I continued to listen to conservative radio, and during this time, I continued to attend (R)2K churches. During the times that I listened to conservative radio, I would always feel very upset at some story about how the liberals were doing something ridiculous, or republicans were doing something dumb or this or that happening etc... But, during all this time, I never made the connection between how the things that I hear on the radio should be influenced by my Christian beliefs in that how I as a ***Christian*** should respond, not simply how I as a ***citizen*** should respond. And at every (R)2K church that I attended, there was never any mention of cultural or social issues, no mention of anything outside the four corners of the church building... So, this continued to contribute to my lack of logical connection of my political conservatism with my Christian convictions.
     In early 2012, I picked up and finished reading Van Til's Defense of the Faith. Embarrassingly, this was really the first time that I had read anything about presuppositional apologetics and its relation to the Christian faith and the gospel. I honestly think that it was at that time that my theonomic beliefs really started to form. My eyes were opened when it came to all facts, knowledge, logic, ethics, etc... came from God, and that we must presuppose God in order to make sense of anything etc...
     I started to think about how my political beliefs were to merge with my Christian convictions, but it was still a little foggy, to be honest. In the middle of 2012, I began to read Theonomy in Christian Ethics, which I had actually bought back in 2004, but really hadn't gone past the first 50 pages. I finally finished that book in late 2012, and during the next month or two of various readings on-line and reflection, I came to be a full fledged theonomist in the Bahnsen tradition.
     As I look back on my previous beliefs, I am struck by how I never thought through the logical implications of my (R)2K beliefs, and how it was only through a careful examination of presuppositionalism and Theonomy, that I come to understand that what I previously believed about (R)2K was inconsistent with the logical conclusions of presuppositionalism. Additionally, through Theonomy, I came to see how other nations were still under the Mosaic law, and how we as NT Christians are to obey the Mosaic law as fulfilled/confirmed/completed etc... by Christ.
     All of this boring biographical background as context, the point behind this is that I came to realize that the political conservatism of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Glenn Beck etc.. to fight against liberalism and the ridiculous things going on in our society is not enough. Political conservatism is not enough, and never will be enough to help bring about the change that our society needs (politically speaking). These talk show hosts think that it is enough.
     Yes, conservatism has many values that overlap with the (theonomic) Christian worldview, and yet the (theonomic) Christian worldview goes much deeper than political conservatism ever could. In the end, political conservatism is simply another idea that is "equal" in the marketplace of multiple ideas because it ultimately does not consistently rely upon the revealed standard of God. There are many atheists who are politically conservative, and may be Christian or Jewish friendly, but ultimately, they are still sinners in a depraved state who are just as lost and without hope as the non Christian politically liberal.
     Only through the (theonomic) Christian worldview can we ever really hope to provide any sort of real and fundamental and lasting change in our society as Christ commanded in the Great Commission. Conservatives come with very good principles (which in some cases is identical to the law of God, and this can be expected due to natural law) that they try to pass into law etc... However, in the end, that is all they are.. "Good" principles... with no real power behind them because those principles are not fully recognized as the law of God and not backed up and supported by the gospel.
     It is only when we as Christians stand up as Christians (not merely as citizens), proclaim the law of God through our neighborhoods, churches and the public square and the legislative process that we can ever hope to be real salt and light as Christ commanded. Not through some talk show host. But through the Word of God.
     And as we proclaim the law of God, we drive people to the gospel as well to repent of their sins, just as Jonah did to Ninevah and as Daniel did to Belshazzar.
     Conservatism has brought about many great benefits, and I still am a big fan of conservative talk radio. However, with a very firm and crystallized theonomic conviction, I now realize that conservatism has never been enough, and can never bring about the "dominion" that God commands of us. I never understood or even made these kinds of connections when I was (R)2K... I never realized and never saw by not having a Christ centered view of EVERYTHING (instead of having only a "conservative" view of things, such as politics), that I was not putting my Lord in his proper place. When I was R2K, I never realized just how disobedient our churches have been to the Great Commission when they actively refused to discuss anything cultural or "political" at the pulpit through a Christ centered way.
    I do now. And with my renewed and corrected conviction, I have better clarity to encourage my pastors to speak the entire counsel of God and to encourage my fellow members to take action for Christ through his gospel and law.


  1. Excellent post.

    Wonderful to see someone move away from the R2K Kool-Aid to a more biblical stance.